The great disconnect between movie reality and real life
Case in point: A Star is Born offers no indication of how real world would react to couple
One of the cleverest movie commentaries I’ve seen in recent weeks is a photo essay by Vulture speculating how the star-crossed romance of A Star is Born would have been covered by the media in real life.
The film’s fictional tale, now in its fourth Hollywood telling, has no shortage of newsworthy incidents regarding the love match of superstar country rocker Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper, who also directs) and unknown aspiring singer Ally Campana (Lady Gaga). Jackson is seriously addicted, depressed and on the way down; Ally is squeaky clean, motivated and on the way up.
A Star is Born exists in a bubble where we don’t get much of an indication of how the gossipy world at large is reacting to this bold-faced pair and their public incidents both beautiful A Star is Born doesn’t show us how media would cover country rocker Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) and aspiring singer Ally Campana (Lady Gaga).
and tragic. Vulture goes full what-if on it, using faked coverage in everything from Us Weekly to Tmz.com to the New York Times, to convincingly show how it would all play out in the press if this story was really happening.
Suffice to say that it would be a far more scandalous situation than what we see on the
relatively sanitized big screen of A Star is Born. (I love Vulture’s fake New York Post headline of a drunken Jackson pissing himself at the Grammy Awards: “Urine Trouble, Mister!”)
This got me thinking about other disconnects between the movies and real life. One of the strange things about getting Ryan Gosling’s gruffly monosyllabic portrayal of Neil Armstrong in First Man implies that his daughter’s death had turned him into a robotic individual.
older is that events and stories you actually lived through begin to show up at your local multiplex or arthouse in cinematic form, often with facts and perspectives that differ from your own.
A case in point is Bohemian Rhapsody, this week’s big opener. Bryan Singer’s biopic of rock band Queen and its lead
singer Freddie Mercury plays fast and loose with many facts, especially those to do with Mercury’s bisexuality. It implies that he kept the secret of his sexual orientation so well, he didn’t come out to his own family until the morning of the band’s legendary performance at Live Aid in 1985 — which also wasn’t a reunion show, contrary to the film’s dramatic assertion.
Damien Chazelle’s First Man is another current movie that makes me wonder if the real story was as much of a cover-up as the screenplay implies.
We’re led to believe that the brain-tumor death of Neil Armstrong’s 2-year-old daughter Karen in 1962 had an outsized impact on his personality, turning him into a robotic individual who pursued the moon mission of Apollo 11 to the detriment of family harmony.
Karen’s tragic demise was reported in many newspaper and magazine features about Armstrong in 1969, and I read as many of them as I could get my grubby teenaged hands on. None of them implied that grief had turned him as gruffly monosyllabic as Ryan Gosling plays him.